Joss Whedon's Abusive Feminism

Of course Joss Whedon is a scumbag. His ex-wife, Kai Cole, recently exposed his 15 years of infidelity in their equally long marriage, detailing the emotional abuse he put her through so he could get with the hot women he always casts.

His first and most famous work, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has long been lauded for its revolutionary depiction of the strong female lead. But Joss Whedon himself should never have been celebrated. His feminism has always been defined solely by his attraction to strong, sexy women. Moreover, by his love of taking strong, sexy women and making them cry.

Let us not forget Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman script, thankfully tossed after director Patty Jenkins took over the project. In his version, Wonder Woman spends more time strip teasing and sobbing into Steve Trevor’s manly chest than she does killing Nazis.

Indeed, naked, crying women have always been his favorite thing. River Tam (Summer Glau) of the short-lived fan favorite Firefly first appears naked in the fetal position, scared and insane. Her tenure on the show was marked by eroticized childishness and tiny sundresses.

According to Cole, when Whedon finally confessed to over a decade of infidelity, he took special pleasure in the way he broke the news:

“It’s not just like I killed you, but that I’d done it subtly, over years. That I’d been poisoning you. Chipping away at you,” he wrote in a letter to her after their marriage ended.

In this non-apology, Whedon luxuriates in her humiliation.

Whedon’s favorite Buffy season is the controversial season 6, which is Buffy actress Sarah Michelle Gellar’s least favorite. In it, Buffy gets carnal with baddie vampire Spike, a toxic relationship that culminated in him attempting to rape the slayer. Guess what the scene ends with? Her naked, except for a torn robe, crying on the floor of her bathroom.

Earlier this year, Gellar told Entertainment Weekly the season “betrayed who she was.” Who Buffy was — a strong female role model.

Whedon, on the other hand, told EW he “love[s]” season six:

“Marti [the season’s showrunner] and I wanted to talk about an unhealthy relationship. It was borderline abusive until it actually became abusive. It was on both sides. [A statement that will never be the same, post-Trump.] It wasn’t just that she was with someone dark—she found the darkness within herself. This has to do with the consequences of power.”

This whopper of a statement combines blaming abuse victims with fetishizing violence against women. It’s no better than simply refusing to make stories centered around women. We should write strong female leads, according to Whedon, so long as he can rough them up and call it art.

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